Saturday, March 29, 2008

April Budget & March Net Worth +$6

We are just squeaking by with $6 positive growth. There are several reasons to that...The tree removal ended up being higher than budget for 1 ($1500 total after including $200 to have someone else cut up the wood to smaller pieces). My wife's sewing machine needed some long-needed repair, so we got that taken care of this month as well. I also have only been working 1 (one) job. You heard that right folks, I brought myself down to 1 job.

April Income:

$2150 Bank Accounts
$1000 Rent (2 roommates at $350/month, 1 at $300/month)
$3434 Day Job

April Expenses:

Mrs. Student Loans 200
Car Gas 200
Mrs. Fun Money 100
Mr. Fun Money 100
Toiletries & Groceries 190
Natural Gas 77
Cell Phone 55
Mortgage 1130
Water 60
Home Depot 1180
Capital One 2500
Mr. Student Loans 110
Electric 105
Life Ins 95
Wood Chipper 200
Vet Visit 150

This month will be the last payment for Home Depot. Woohoo!

We'll be starting on making a major payment to Capital One as well this month. I'm going to call them on Monday to negotiate a settlement probably around $5K, where we'll do half in April and half in May. It's pretty nice to be able to live off our savings and rental income, therefore send all my paychecks towards the debt.

I'm bouncing around regarding chipping the brush from the trees taken down last month. The tree folks of course were willing to cut all the brush up and haul it away, but I was wanting to keep it so I could have chips/mulch for my garden this year. I'm going to go look at a used chipper this weekend as well as price around renting one.

The vet visit is new this month as well. For a couple of weeks we had a cat hanging around our house because the kids in the neighborhood were feeding him. It was snowing last Saturday morning and I couldn't leave him out there in the cold. He was someone's pet at one time I suspect. We decided to keep him (even though I'm allergic), so we need to take him to the vet to get checked out.

Tuesday, March 18, 2008

Home Depot wants me back...

And they're itching for my current e-mail address. They sent the account to collections and we are about 2/3 of the way paying them off (next month is the last 1/3). I received in the mail over the weekend a short letter from them saying that they want to e-mail me, but the address they have on file is not valid. No description of what was in the e-mail, just asking me to spend my time logging into their site so I can update it and they can probably start sending me junk.

Just what I want!

At the end of next month, I'll be calling them up to make sure they cancel my account. Seems like even if you stop paying them, they will want you back once your current.

Sunday, March 16, 2008

A Few Paths To Choose

With this year pretty much on auto-pilot for our finances (know the order debts are being paid off and when, income set for the rest of the year unless we add a new revenue stream), I've been thinking big time what is the path we go on after these CC and misc debts are paid off and we have $9K in our emergency fund. It's still a year away, but I figure now is the time to start planning. Here's the paths I see available:

- Pay down student loan and mortgage debt: This has a guaranteed return on investment of 6% overall. I know I really want to get our mortgage under 80% to get rid of the $71/month PMI, which will take $10K

- Invest in the stock market (eg: S&P 500): I forget the exact long-term average for S&P 500, but it's like 10% in the long-term.

- Build a business: We've got several ideas floating around over here that would require some, but not much money to get started. The chance for losses and gain are large.

- As my wife describes it, go back to our old ways and splurge. This has a guaranteed return on investment of 0% to -30%.

It's probably going to end up being a mix of the first 3, just finding the right balance will be the hard item. Our goal is retirement at 42, though theoretically I'll be halfway to retirement in a year (currently living off 50% of my day-job income, the other 50% is going to those debts right now).

Sunday, March 9, 2008

Garden Update

Lots going on over here since my last garden update, here's the latest:

3 trees brought down: We have a huge pile of brush for me to work on next weekend with a wood chipper and the pieces need to be cut into smaller pieces for our fireplace this coming winter, but they are now on the ground. Total cost to bring them down: $1300. It was a tough choice to do while we are trying to be gazelle intense about our debts, but if our garden in the back yard is going to go well this year, we needed them cleared out. This will help accelerate my plans in starting a garden business.

Planted Indoors: We planted the cilantro, cumin, and lettuce we had decided before. We also planted several varieties of tomatoes for us to try to sell in 6-8 weeks (250 plants).

Transplanted: Finished most of the transplanting, the only ones left to transplant are the lettuce from last week. Once they have sprouted, I'm stopping with transplanting. It takes too much work starting seeds in one container to move them to another container for not much benefit.

Looking Ahead: The next few weeks are going to be yard cleanup, most of the plants we can start indoors have been started. The rest we either need warm weather outside or plant directly in the ground. We should be getting some nice weather after today (40's and 50's).

Friday, March 7, 2008

Down to 3 Roommates

This week has been a busy week for me with a new job (and I'm enjoying it a lot). We had decided a couple weeks back that a couple that has been living with us had to leave and they left at the beginning of this week with almost no warning. They didn't leave in the best of ways, but we are done with that chapter.

We also decided we are going to stay at 3 roommates only. This is a bit sooner than I was hoping for (June was my personal goal), but after this bad experience, we're going to limit to 3 roommates. This will allow us to have our daughter out of our bedroom and into her own room (she's almost 10 months old).

Last of all, one of our other roommates is moving out today, but we already have a semi-permanent replacement moving in on Monday. After she moves in, it's looking like we won't be changing roommates for another year. This will help with the sanity of the house. Our total rental income will be $1000/month ($350/m from 2, $300/m from 1).